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Ballynester, County Down

Origin

Ir. Baile an Aistire ‘the townland of the doorkeeper’

Background

This name seems to consist of baile ‘townland’ + definite article (i.e. an) + noun.  On the basis of this, three possible Irish language forms come to mind, Baile an Aistire ‘townland of the doorkeeper’, Baile an Adhastair ‘townland of the halter’ and possibly even Baile an Dísirt ‘townland of the hermitage’.  The element díseart ‘hermitage’, frequently found in place-names, is sometimes anglicized ister, ester (Joyce i 325). However, the forms seem best suited to the first of these suggestions.  The word aistire has ecclesiastical connotations; this was the term applied to the doorkeeper of a monastery who was also responsible for ringing the bell (DIL s.v.).

References

Hannan R. J. (1992): Place-Names of Northern Ireland vol. 2 p. 204

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Ballynestore1623Ham. Copy Inq. [1623] xxxi
Ballenestore1636Inq. Ult. (Down) $75 Car. I
Ballynester1650cInq. Ult. (Down) $109 Car. I
(?)Ballyvestore1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Car. II
Ballenestore1662Inq. Ult. (Down) $1 Car. II
Ballymistore1717Montgomery MSS 420 n 93
Balynester1810Wm. Map (OSNB) No. 92
Ballynester1830cBnd. Sur. (OSNB) No. 92
Nestor''s Town1834cJ O'D (OSNB) No. 92
Barony
Ards Lower
Parish
Grey Abbey
Parish in 1851
Greyabbey
Townland
None
Place name ID
12035
Place name type
T